Where do you begin? {Big Project: Part 1}

Facing a big project can be paralyzing. It can also be frustrating and make you want to quit before you even begin. Some people take a “oh I’ll just start over here in this random spot and see where it leads” approach. Whether we’re talking about a scrapbook layout or a studio remodel this is a HUGE mistake. Why? One of a few things happen every time:

  1. You waste time or resources by forgetting what you’ve done and repeating or causing excess work.
  2. You lose track of supplies/materials/focus
  3. You lose interest or get overwhelmed and quit
  4. You stop and go make a proper plan so you can proceed in a way that works.

I’m trying really hard to gain momentum and make more of the ideas in my head become reality in 2017, so many of them simply had to sit and wait around last year.

Now that the studio is back together (yay! see above photos) I’m ready to begin tackling other projects. Like getting back my scrapbooking momentum and making some of the funky beaded and mixed media projects that I keep putting off. In a future piece I will talk about shopping, keeping up, and other elements of taking on a big project. Today though, I just want to share some brainstorm “before that first step” thoughts.

Above you see the photographs I just ordered. It took 4-5 hours to go through ALL the photos from vacation (and the last 5 months or so), weed them down, and order the prints. I don’t print one photo at a time or custom – I simply get my photos printed all 4×6 and work from there. I don’t really edit them either. I just enjoy the real shots that I get everyday or on a trip. Anyhow that was one big step I took before really making a scrapbook plan.  Sometimes there are early steps you can take because it’s a type of project you’ve done before and you know “first, —-” so doing so won’t mess up anything – in fact in my case it made things easier!

Here you can see I’ve got my bin full of ephemera and bits from a recent trip as well as allll those photos. I need to decide what I’m doing with scrapbooking and albums and all that. But first, I need to think more general and ask myself:

  • What is the project at hand? What is my end game, my goal?
  • Do I see pieces or chunks I can break this down into easily? Or is it more complicated?
  • How much time do I see giving to this project, and do I have a deadline?

And the most important factor: be realistic. Oh I’d love to throw a creative week long retreat taking over a massive hotel and inviting you all to play (for example) – but might it be more realistic to bring day retreats back to local shops first? Get that going? Probably. The same goes for any project. Yes it’d be nice to hand make 100 different Christmas cards but perhaps 1 design that allows for slight personalization and alteration is more realistic to actually see them mailed before next century.

I’m all for dreaming big – but sometimes that also includes breaking things down into bite-sized pieces that I can handle today. Or this week. In the case of my scrapbooking I need to make some calls on album size, how much time each week I want to commit to memory keeping (since I’ve fallen behind and want to at least get some stories captured before they’re lost), and a few other details.

Big ideas can be scary, overwhelming, and quite frankly seem impossible. But we can break them down from the dream of having all those photos organized to creating cards for all 300 friends and family this Easter. Whatever the big project, first really look at what it is going to require and consider your options for approaching it.

Me? I’m really working hard at writing down my thoughts more. This post? This post was 2 pages of notes about some specific projects I want to get at and need to think through. It now has me on my way and is a blog post too. Win all around? I say so. The #1 thing to remember with big goals and projects whether to eat better or exercise or take on a massive scrapbook project with over 1,000 photos: it’s gonna take a lot of small steps. hundreds maybe. That’s ok! We can handle the small stuff, right?

If you’ve got creative tricks or tips for plotting out big projects I would love to hear them! I’m always working to be a better me where more of these crafty ideas get out of my brain and into reality…

5 thoughts on “Where do you begin? {Big Project: Part 1}”

  1. Your studio looks great!

    I worked on a couple of custom scrapbook-for-hire projects last fall – 40+ pages on each. I started by creating an outline of the pages for each album, then went through the photos with my client to chose photos to print. I’m fortunate to have space to lay out lots of items, so I planned several pages at a time, then scrapped. there’s a phot of my process near the end of this post: http://melissagross.blogspot.com/2016/12/hello-december.html

    I recently printed photos from the last half of 2016, but I skipped our 2 big trips. I’m going to scrap these photos, then process the trip photos.

  2. Thanks for this post today!!! We made a move a year ago,so I have my craft room set up now. I have been thinking about what I would like to scrapbook. I have not done anything in a long time! I love your concept of baby steps. I have lots of project’s that have not been completed. I am going to do one page this week to start off with! That is going to be my baby step. I will be looking forward to the next posts on this subject.thanks

  3. I really love the colours you’ve used in your studio! You must be so happy it’s all back together again!!
    I love your idea of breaking stuff down
    Im a list fan- when I feel like I have too much on my mind to do I love writing everything down into a list and ticking it all off!!!

  4. May, this is such a great article. I really needed to read it. Your studio looks fabulous. I can just imagine how much work was involved. Your buttons are so cool. I can’t wait to see what you come up with now that you are out of “hand prison”. Have fun! hugs, treen

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